Hampstead captain feels his side have shown what they can do after comprehensive victory over Eastcote

Henry Collier bats for Hampstead. Pic: Max Flego

Henry Collier bats for Hampstead. Pic: Max Flego - Credit: Max Flego

Hampstead captain Steve Clark feels his side have shown what they are capable of after the reigning champions kickstarted their title defence with a comprehensive home win.

The Lymington Road outfit, who topped the Premier Division of the Middlesex County League last summer, lost their first two games of this campaign – but they beat Eastcote by 263 runs on Saturday.

Ragheb Aga struck 115 while overseas signing Henry Collier notched 88 as the hosts racked up a sizeable total of 359-6 from their allotted 50 overs.

Collier then took 5-34 with the ball, while Clark (2-18) and Archie Fellowes (2-10) were also ruthless as Eastcote were skittled for just 96.

“It’s not been the ideal start we were after,” Clark told Ham&High Sport. “I reckon we’ve possibly been a little bit slow out of the blocks in terms of the way we’ve gone about our batting – that’s probably been the main reason that we struggled in the first two games.

“Not chasing down 145 [against North Middlesex] is not good enough and then last week, when I didn’t play, [Shepherd’s Bush] got about 240 and again we didn’t bat well enough.

“Hopefully we’ve rectified it this week – 360 is going to be a winning total 99 times out of 100, so hopefully we’ve found a bit of form.

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“We’re still not firing on all cylinders – there are still a few things in the field we can work on – but batting-wise that was probably about as good as it gets.

“In the field, I think it was one of those days where the game was already over – they came out a little bit dejected. They almost looked like they’d given up while they were fielding and, in the last five or 10 overs, they were very dejected.

“We came out of the blocks quite hard [in Eastcote’s innings] – we said in the changing room ‘let’s get after them straight away’, which we did.

“I got a wicket early doors and then Tom Wilde, who was at the other end, got a wicket quite early as well so that put us on the front foot in the field straight away and that’s the kind of thing you want to do – to nail it down and not give the opposition an inch.”

Clark was pleased to see Collier, who represented New Zealand’s Under-19s in 2014, getting among the wickets after his impressive knock and continuing to adjust to life in the Middlesex County League.

“He’s a spinner so maybe he’s getting used to the different ball,” said the skipper. “I know he’s used Kookaburra balls over there, whereas we use Dukes, so maybe that had something to do with it.

“I think it’s a bit of settling in, but he’s a quality player – you can see that from the way he goes about things. I’m sure he’ll be contributing in many more of the games.”

Collier’s off-spin could come in handy again this Saturday as Hampstead visit Teddington, who won the league in 2014.

“They’re very hard to beat, particularly at their home ground, “said Clark. “Historically the wicket can turn. It will be a tough game – they were champions a little while ago so we’ll have to be bringing our A-game.”